Education Opinion

American Teachers Spend the Most Hours in Classroom

By Matthew Lynch — December 19, 2014 1 min read
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American teachers spend more hours in the classroom than their peer across the globe, according to a recent education report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The report outlines the state of education in the world’s most developed countries.

The report shows that American elementary school teachers spend more hours teaching students than any other country surveyed. American middle and high school teachers spend more time educating students than peers in every OECD country except Chile. In addition to classroom time, US teachers are also required to be at school more hours than their international peers.

Despite the long hours, teachers in American aren’t compensated well, explains OECD director of education and skills Andreas Schleicher. The pay, compared to other countries, is competitive in the US; however, it lags behind that of other American workers with college educations.

The OECD report shows American teachers see smaller salary increases than their foreign counterparts; in the most recent year surveyed, the average teacher with 15 years of experience saw a salary increase of 32.6 percent. The US average was just 26.6 percent.

A study from the Center for American Progress in July found that slow salary growth is a contributing factor to the high turnover rate. Research shows that 13 percent of teachers leave the profession or take a position at a new school every year.

I think that the time teachers spend in the classroom, both with students present and without, is appropriate to get the job done in many cases. However, I do hope we can find a way to improve salaries so teachers earn what they deserve. Teachers should have at least a middle-class existence. Our nation needs to quickly learn how to attract and retain top talent teachers in the classrooms in order to best educate our children.

If you would like to invite Dr. Lynch to speak or serve as a panelist at an upcoming event, please email him at lynch39083@aol.com.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.